Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

When asked if the new acting AG is now in charge of the Mueller probe a DOJ spokeswoman said: “The Acting Attorney General is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice.” So the answer is yes.

We’re still trying to get a clear sense of the legal mechanics of Sessions de facto firing. There are legal particulars about the President’s powers depending on whether a cabinet secretary resigns or is fired. What seems clear is that this is the beginning move in ending the Mueller probe or, at least for now, putting it under the control of a Trump loyalist who is on the record saying that he believes the investigation is in fact illegitimate. The White House knows Mueller’s office is or was about to come out of pre-election hibernation and likely move to a series of new indictments.

We need to remember the context. The President and members of his entourage conspired with a foreign power to ascend to the presidency and has spent the bulk of his two years in office trying to evade the law. Rod Rosenstein had been suggesting to some of his more apolitical colleagues at the DOJ that they should be prepared for dramatic changes in leadership in the first days of November.

Here’s a key moment when President Trump said the press “is a very divisive thing for this country.”

I’m going to start this morning with an email from TPM Reader JF. It’s a deeply pessimistic look at last night’s results. I thoroughly disagree with it. I’m publishing it partly because I like JF and like sharing a range of reader opinions but more because it’s a good statement of the view I disagree with. So it’s helpful to put out there as a clear, smart statement of the take I disagree with.

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Let me try to put this whole erratic evening into some perspective. This was definitely not one of those nights when a triumphant party drives everyone before it. The Senate results were brutal. There was a half hour or so mid-evening when it looked as though the whole thing might be a replay of the brutal 2016 result. There were key gubernatorial wins but also some disappointing misses – particularly Florida and Ohio. But I come out of tonight feeling good about the result. Why? The country is in a position where we don’t have the luxury of getting everything we want or getting overly disappointed if we don’t. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that Gillum went down to defeat. But there was one absolutely critical thing that had to happen tonight: the Democrats had to reclaim a foothold of power in Washington to place a check on President Trump.

They did that. It wasn’t close. The victories had geographical breadth. That is critical.

2:20 AM: We don’t have network calls yet. But the Nevada Independent says Heller lost. That means he lost. Meanwhile, it’s starting to seem like Tony Evers is going to beat Scott Walker. If he does that’s both a big moral victory and a critical political victory, looking forward to both 2020 and redistricting in 2021/22. Big deal. Finally, Karen Handel is up by just 57 votes after 100% of the precincts are reporting. That must mean a recount, though I confess I don’t know the precise rules in Georgia.

1:51 AM: Here’s a surprising one. President Trump basically ran Mark Sanford out of congress. Democrat Joe Cunningham seems to have won his seat.

2:00 AM: This is the guy who knows Nevada. Pretty clear to me Heller will go down to defeat.

2:07 AM: Remember the state legislatures …

2:14 AM: You can take this to the bank …